The Most Common Illnesses in Dogs

 

There are a number of common illnesses and health conditions that dogs may suffer from during their lifetime. As our best friends, it can be upsetting when our furry friends appear to be in pain or unwell.

You know your dog best so, if you notice that your pet starts acting differently, it might be worth a trip to the vet. Since dogs depend on us to care and look after them, it’s essential to always look for signs of illness or pain to ensure that your pooch lives a happy, healthy life.

Argos Pet Insurance has put together a list of the five most common illnesses in dogs and how to spot them:

Ear infections

Doggy ear infections are extremely common. They are usually caused by dust, dirt, foreign matter (like grass seeds) or a build up of wax or ‘cerumen’ getting stuck inside your dog’s ear. Dogs with hairy ears or narrow ear canals can be more prone. They can also be picked up whilst swimming in lakes or the sea if water gets stuck inside the ear canal. Ear infections may be more common in dogs that spend lots of time outside. Symptoms include: scratching, head shaking, redness, swelling, discharges or smelly ears.

If you think your dog may have an ear infection, take them to the vet. A veterinarian will do an ear examination to determine the cause of the problem. They may prescribe ear drops, ear cleaners, antibiotics or anti-inflammatories.  In severe cases, they may need to flush your dogs’ ears, so take them in sooner rather than later.

It’s a good idea to start cleaning your dog’s ears once a week to make sure that any dirt or debris is removed as ‘preventative maintenance’. Use cotton wool and dog specific ear cleaner.  You can get this from your vet or good pet shops. After removing any surface dirt, you can use medicated drops if your vet has prescribed any. Make sure you don’t insert anything into your dog’s ear canals as this could cause ear trauma, damage the eardrum and is very painful. Never use Q-tips or ear buds. Once cleaned, make sure to pat your dog’s ears dry with a soft cloth or paper towel.

Conjunctivitis

There are a number of different types of eye problems that dogs may develop but conjunctivitis is probably the most common. It can be caused by traumas, debris in the eye, or infections (amongst others).Conjunctivitis is easy to spot: your dog will have a sore, red eye/eyelids and possibly fluid, mucus or pus around the eye area. It’s usually quite uncomfortable for dogs so they may try and scratch their eye with their paws to prevent the discomfort.

If you’re concerned about whether your dog has an eye infection, take them to the vet. In most cases, conjunctivitis will be treated with an ointment or eye drops. Its best to go and see your vet promptly as other related problems like eye ulcers are not always visible to us (vets use special dyes to see them) but are best detected and treated quickly.

Kennel cough

Kennel cough is a very contagious respiratory infection that’s usually caught during a visit to the vets or kennels. It may also be more common in environments where there are lots of dogs.  Your dog will have a dry, rough cough that can sound like it has something stuck in its throat.

Kennel cough is very common and isn’t usually a cause for concern, but it’s a good idea to get your dog examined by the veterinarian to eliminate any other illnesses first. Give your dog plenty of rest and water and if symptoms worsen, revisit the vet. In severe cases, your dog may be given antibiotics.

There are some vaccinations which can help reduce the incidence or severity of kennel cough, so it’s worth discussing with your vet.

Worms

There are a number of different types of intestinal parasites – also known as worms – that can cause problems for dogs. Tapeworms, roundworms, whipworms and hookworms are the most common.

Your dog’s symptoms will differ depending on the type of worms it has, but symptoms can include: vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and weight loss.

It’s essential to visit the vet if you think your dog may have worms. Tapeworms and roundworms can be seen by the naked eye but this isn’t always the case. Your veterinarian will identify the best treatment for your pooch, and always ensure you ask your vet about a regular de-worming treatment. 

Cancer

Cancer is more common in older dogs and can be hard to detect. There are many symptoms that can indicate a problem because cancer can develop almost anywhere in the body, so make sure you look out for the following: any unusual or new lumps and bumps, changes in the skin, weight loss or weight gain, breathing problems, lameness, swellings, tiredness, seizures, diarrhoea or vomiting. Remember that a lump that has been present for years may change, so if you notice any of these symptoms, you should visit your vet and get things checked out.

They can perform several different types of test such as biopsy/FNA, x-ray or ultrasound to determine what is going on and what is the best course of action to take.

Your dog may require surgery or cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, but your veterinarian will be able to determine the best treatment.

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What Tech Do You Need To Make Your Kitty’s Life “Purrrfect?”

We all know that cats can be rather discerning guests in our houses. Not only can they be fussy about their food, but they often require extra pampering, especially compared to other pets. Cats, for some reason, always want to live like high rollers.

Fortunately, technology is finally catching up. Here’s some of the kit out there right now designed to make your life, and your cat’s, better.

The Cat Collar Camera

If you’ve ever wondered what your cat gets up to when it’s out of the house, you needn’t wonder any longer. A company called Eyenimal has developed what it claims is an effective cat collar camera which can be worn while the cat is out of the house. The small device comes fitted with a battery and a small camera which will record and store video for up to three hours. What’s more, the camera itself is extremely lightweight, weighing only nine grams, meaning that your cat won’t even notice they’re wearing it.

Better still, the cat collar camera can be used to spy on your neighbors. If your cat makes its way into their garden, you’ll be able to see exactly what they’re doing and whether they’re kicking your cat.

Cat Food Dispenser

Walking to the pantry, opening a packet of food and scraping it into the cat food bowl is a chore that most of us could do without. Recently, however, ReviewLoft.co.uk, showcased a piece of tech that might end this annoying chore forever. Called automatic cat feeders, these products dispense cat-sized portions on programmable timers. These dispensers are perfect if your kitty is looking a little chubby and you want to reduce their calorie intake temporarily.

Cat Locator

Cat owners live in constant fear that their pet cat has been run over by a car or drowned in a river. As a result, it’s nice to have some way of locating them if they do decide to go AWOL. That’s why a company called Tabcat has come up with a cat locator. It’s essentially a GPS tag that connects to the cat’s collar. The car wears the tag, and then the owner can locate the cat using the locator unit provided with the kit.

A color-coded lighting system on the locator tells owners whether they are pointing in the right direction of their cat. If you’ve trained your cat, there’s also a “recall” option which should hopefully ensure that they trot straight home.

Cat Drones

Drones are slowly taking over the world according to pcadvisor.co.uk. What were once just cute kids toys have now become a serious engine of economic growth. Top companies are looking for ways to use drones to make delivery services better.

One drone company has decided to use the new technology to make life easier for pet owners. They’ve made a drone that is programmed to dangle soft toys in front of cats. The drone comes with a fake mouse, feathers, and fish, allowing your cat to play as long as they like without you having to dangle the toys yourself.

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Lungworm Awareness Campaign Launched on Wave of Social ‘Petworking’ Trend

Ben Fogle is campaigning to raise awareness of the deadly disease

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new Instagram profile, @DangerousSnail25, is launching this week on the back of a growing trend for people to post photos of their pets online. The campaign will raise awareness of the dangers of lungworm – a parasite, carried by slugs and snails, that can be fatal for dogs if not prevented.

Social ‘petworking’ is becoming increasingly popular with new research revealing that almost a fifth of dog owners post weekly pictures of their pet, with a similar amount admitting to having a social media channel dedicated to their pup.

The hashtag #dogsofinstagram attracts over 750k posts each day – twice as many as #Brexit has EVER received. Young dog owners are the most active on social media with 80 per cent posting about their pets, and almost half of 18 – 34 year old have their own social media profile for their four-legged friend.

To capitalise on the trend, and with beautiful, macro-photography, @DangerousSnail25, a new campaign created by Bayer, highlights the potential dangers slugs and snails can pose to dogs.

Vet Luke Gamble, said “In @DangerousSnail25’s feed we wanted to show how easy it is for dogs to accidentally swallow slugs and snails when they play with toys, drink from puddles and water bowls left outside, or eat grass.

“Although over half of dog owners said their dogs do eat grass, only 11 per cent were aware of the potential risk that this could pose to their dogs, and only half were aware that lungworm could be caught through eating slugs or snails.”

Whilst 86 per cent of dog owners aged 55+ were aware of lungworm, those aged 18 – 34 year had the least awareness, with just 58 per cent understanding the threat of lungworm

Once inside the dog’s system, the parasite travels through the body eventually ending up in the heart. If the infection is left untreated, the dog’s health can rapidly deteriorate, and can even result in death.

Evidence from the Royal Veterinary College confirms that the lungworm parasite has spread across the UK from its traditional habitat in the south of England and Wales.

It’s now widespread in central England and has reached northern regions and Scotland, with one in five vet practices nationwide reporting at least one case of the parasite.

Luke adds, “Unlike other parasites, such as ticks and fleas, dogs may not initially show visible signs of a lungworm infection.

“We want to let dog owners know that preventative monthly-use products are available to stop the spread of lungworm.

“Not all worming products are effective against lungworm and monthly treatment is required for complete protection.

“Pet owners are advised to speak to their vet about preventative treatment against lungworm.”

Bayer is also working with celebrity explorer and dog-owner Ben Fogle to educate dog-owners on the hidden dangers in the nation’s gardens and favourite dog walks.

To help raise awareness of the parasite, dog owners and vets nationwide are supporting the national ‘Act Against Lungworm’ campaign.

Find out more information about lungworm by following @DangerousSnail25 on Instagram and check the risk in your area by searching your postcode at www.lungworm.co.uk/map

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All You Need To Know About Keeping Fish As Pets

Believe it or not but fish make brilliant pets. They’re a great alternative if you don’t have enough room for a bigger pet like a cat or dog.

Below, you will find a few helpful pieces of advice that revolve around keeping fish as pets. So, if you’re considering it, then give these tips a read:

Choose The Right Fish

The first step in keeping fish as pets is choosing the right fish. Not every fish is suited to life in a fish tank, some prefer living in ponds. Depending on where you keep your fish, you have to think about which ones suit that environment. Generally speaking, you should keep larger fish like Koi in a pond as they have more room to move around and swim.

Then, you can keep smaller fish in fish tanks as they don’t need as much space and it would be a waste to keep them in a pond. Typically, you can find loads of small tropical fish that suit tanks. Also, there are some fish – like goldfish – that are suitable for both environments. Regardless, just make sure you do some research and choose fish that suit the environment best.

Maintain Their Home

You wouldn’t let yourself roll around in filth all day long so why should you let your fish? You must take care of their living conditions and maintain their home. Fish maintenance depends on where you keep your fish. If you have a pond, you’ll need filters to keep the water clean – this also means you have to change and clean filters too. Also, as you can see if you click here, there are pond vacuums that will come in handy when cleaning out sludge and debris to keep your pond nice and clean.

For fish tanks, you have similar tasks, but they’re a lot easier. You need a water filter to keep the pH levels consistent, and this might need changing or cleaning from time to time. But, unlike with a pond, you need to change out the water now and then too. This helps keep the water nice and fresh and perfect for your fishies. If you maintain their home, they will live for a lot longer.

Feed Them Carefully

You have to feed your fish just like you’d feed any other pet. Unfortunately, many people are careless when it comes to feeding fish. For one, they sometimes forget to feed regularly. This is mainly because fish never show they’re hungry like cats and dogs do. Secondly, some people give their fish too much food at once.

You need to feed them carefully and regularly. Don’t pour a whole tub of fish food into their water, this will only make it dirty as they won’t eat it all. Carefully measure out each portion and ensure you check with a professional to see what fish food is meant for certain fish.

Follow this advice if you have pet fish or are thinking of getting some pet fish. Treat them well, and they will last for a very long time.

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What Does Dog Tail Wagging Mean?

All dog owners love that wagging tail welcome from their four-legged friends. But, contrary to popular belief, dog tail wagging doesn’t always mean happiness.

Scientists have discovered that dogs use tail wagging as a communication tool. There are different wags for different messages, and we need to tune in to understand what the messages are.

Don’t get us wrong; some tail wags are associated with happiness or greeting. However, others can communicate fear, insecurity or a warning not to come closer. The position of the tail, speed and pattern of movement can all help us understand the social signals of dog tail wagging.

Argos Pet Insurance shares a basic guide to dog tail wagging and its many meanings – how many do you recognise?

Common happy wags:

Type of wag: Tail held horizontally, small slow wag from side to side

Meaning: Positive but tentative greeting.

Type of wag: Tail held low or horizontally, broad fast wag from side to side (sometimes makes the whole body appear to wag!)

Meaning: Friendly, welcoming and pleased to see you. The most common ‘happy wag’.

Common unhappy wags:

Type of wag: Tail held slightly higher than horizontal, fast wag

Meaning: Insecure, unsure about your or another dog’s presence

Type of wag: Tail held high, tiny high-speed movements from side to side

Meaning: Threat or warning not to come closer

Other dog tail wagging types

Left wag, right wag

There’s another discovery that has surprised many dog owners and scientists alike. The direction bias in which a dog wags its tail can also indicate its emotions. A group of neuroscientists at the University of Trento conducted research that showed dogs’ tails tend to move slightly more to the right if they’re happy. Likewise, if the dog feels negative emotions like fear or aggression, the tail tends to move further to the left.

This can be tough for even the most attentive dog owner to detect and interpret, and is more readable for other dogs than it is for humans. However, if you do notice your dog’s tail wagging is more biased to the left or right, this is a good indication of how they’re feeling.

Tail up, tail down

Dogs’ tails don’t even need to be wagging to tell us how they’re feeling. If a dog’s tail is horizontal or low, the dog is in a neutral to submissive mode and will usually be good-natured.

If, however, you see a dog with its tail high in the air, this is a signal of dominance and assertiveness – as if to say ‘I’m in charge here!’ Approach these dogs with caution, especially if you have another dog with you, as this is challenging behaviour and could lead to a fight.

So, it turns out dogs’ tails are more than just the wiggly appendages that knock our drinks off coffee tables. If we’re able to recognise the social signals our dogs are giving us using tail wagging, we can have a much more rewarding and understanding relationship together.

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10 Staycations to Enjoy with Your Pooch this Summer

For more bark for your buck, without the added expense of kennel fees, the red tape surrounding foreign travel with Fido or worse still – having to leave your furry bestie out of the holiday fun, PETSPYJAMAS.COM has helpfully put together the following list of the best pet-friendly holiday accommodation in the UK.

  1. The Gallivant Hotel, East Sussex: inspired by the coastal motels you might find in California, this is a laid-back hideaway for grown-ups (and their well behaved pups) to dine, dream, relax and soak up some sun in the dunes and beautiful sandy beach of Camber. The Gallivant also has a spa treatment room to help humans unwind from the strains of life. For nearby pottering, explore the town of Rye or switch up the scenery with a cliff-top walk through the grasslands of Hastings Country Park. Priced from £145 per night, discover: http://bit.ly/TheGallivantHotel

  1. Linthwaite House Hotel, Lake District: enjoy boutique luxury by the Lakes, in the heart of Windermere at this haven of chic contemporary style, superb service and breath-taking scenery. The award-winning Linthwaite is situated in 14 acres of glorious gardens, with its own tarn and gently sloping grounds overlooking Lake Windermere – all waiting for you and your dog to explore! Beyond the relaxing hotel and its grounds, is a plethora of historic houses, gardens, museums, galleries and delightful Lakeland villages, as well as some of the best walking countryside in England. Fine dining is also on the menu at Linthwaite House, with a focus on superb modern British cuisine and friendly, attentive service. Pack light for your pooch, as pet essentials such as blankets, bowls, leads and towels can all be arranged, and there is an area where you can wash up after an energetic play in the grounds. Priced from £228 per night, discover: http://bit.ly/LinthwaiteHouseHotel

  1. The Feversham Arms Hotel, Yorkshire: a secluded contemporary retreat to get away from it all, surrounded on all sides by the North York Moors National Park. Relax and unwind by day exploring the scenic countryside together before popping back for a refreshing dip and cooling cocktail in the outdoor pool – just remember to keep the dog on the lead! By night, enjoy delicious locally sourced menus, which should you wish to also dine with your dog, can be enjoyed in a special dog-friendly set up in the Library. Priced from £120 per night, discover: http://bit.ly/FevershamArmsHotel

 

  1. Bells & Stars Glamping, Suffolk: swap a Euro camping or festival trip with this glamp-tastic break in more than 15-acres of gorgeous Suffolk farmland. Splash around on the estuary beach, fire up the BBQ and play guitar by the campfire under the light of the moon before retiring to the comfort of your luxe tent. Should you fancy a change of scenery and a break from campfire cuisine, take your pick of nearby beaches, dog-friendly cafes, restaurants and country pubs. Book up with other dog-owner pals and create your own Bark Stock Festival! Priced from £75 per night, discover: http://bit.ly/BellsAndStars

 

  1. Ocean Shepherd Hut, Swansea: beach babes and families will love to cut loose and chase the waves, surf, paddle and soak up rays against breath-taking Rhossili Bay and its nearby beaches. After a day of sun, sea and sand, you can all enjoy sunsets, stars and slumber in the shelter of your personal retreat featuring its own elevated deck. There’s also a chance your dog might have a holiday romance/bromance with Woody, Scamper Holiday’s lovable West Highland Terrier. Priced from £103.75 per night, discover: http://bit.ly/OceanShepherdHut

 

  1. Ace Hotel, London: if city breaks are your summer fling this one could be your ace stay! The perfect base for Londoner second-timers who’ve done all the big sites, The Ace is located in the heart of hip East London, on the door step of a wealth of cool (and many dog-friendly) restaurants, bars, street food markets, style boutiques, galleries, pop-ups as well as the famous Columbia Road Flower Market, Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane and the shipping container-made shopping destination Box Park. There’s always something going on in this part of town, and when you’ve done exploring the area, super pet-friendly Ace Hotel welcomes you and your dog to hangout, people watch and sip cocktails in the Bulldog Edition Café and Lobby Bar. Pet essentials such as a bowl and a bed are provided in your room, and some rooms even have record players with a selection of vinyl so you and your pup can party into the night! Priced from £322 per night, discover: http://bit.ly/AceHotelDogFriendly

  1. Red Kite Barn, Wales: this party play pad is perfect for grown up get-togethers of up to 6 with the fur-kids! Set in no less than 80 acres of lush Welsh hills and woodland to explore, it’s filled with quirky and designer touches. Work up an appetite, walking and chasing balls, in the unending upland moorland owned by the National Trust. Chill out with the gang in the cool open plan living space or put the pool table to work before preparing a feast in the zinc-clad kitchen island, which is positioned perfectly for taking in the views and continuing the socialising. However, should you want a night or two off from cooking, a private chef can also be arranged. After dinner, curl up to watch a movie together on the large projector screen. Priced from £178.57 per night, discover: http://bit.ly/RedKiteBarn

  1. Wilderness Reserve – Moat Cottage, Suffolk: complete with its own moat, this dog-friendly Tudor-style cottage sit high up on a hill within Wilderness Reserve – a 5,000-acre estate of rolling parklands, woodlands, lakes and landscaped gardens – and is perfect for groups of up 12 looking to enjoy a secluded break. Spend summer days with dogs, friends and family fishing, toe-dipping, doggie paddling, cycling, fishing, golf, tennis, clay-pigeon shooting, archery, paddle boarding on the lake or swimming in naturally-filtered oval pool. For days out, Southwold or Aldeburgh are nearby. Priced from £562 per night, discover: http://bit.ly/WildernessReserveMoat

  1. The Cary Arms, Devon: coastal getaways get an upgrade at The Cary Arms, which is full of all the charm and fun of a good old English pub, with the style and comfort of a luxury boutique hotel. A beachside retreat set in the stunning location of Babbocombe beach, there are eight deluxe beach huts and suites with amazing views to choose from. The Cary Arms offers gastro-pub food, real ales, exceptionally dog-friendly facilities and year round access to this dog-friendly beach making it the perfect bolt-hole recharge, catch some rays and feast on gourmet grub – you can even take to the seas in a Kayak with your pooch. You’ll struggle not to enjoy every second of this coastal getaway! A Priced from £315 per night, discover: http://bit.ly/TheCaryArmsDogFriendly

  1. Retallack Lakeside Apartments, Cornwall: situated just off the north coast of Cornwall, within easy reach of Newquay, Wadebridge and Padstow, Retallack Resort and Spa is a 5 star self-catering choice for dog-owning families. Set in 100 acres of tranquil countryside, the resort offers a host of activities and facilities for a memorable summer holiday – a scenic lake and woodland trails with the two and four-legged family members, gourmet food by James Nathan at The Green Room and swimming in the indoor heated pool – the list goes on. There’s also a Kids Club to keep little people entertained while you enjoy some quiet time at the Spa, bar or on your own private terrace overlooking the lake. Nearby are the golden sands at Watergate Bay and The Eden Project. Priced from £149.86 per night, discover: http://bit.ly/RetallackLakesideApts

 

To book your hound and human summer staycation, visit PetsPyjamas.com, and also, don’t forget, to share your dog-friendly adventures @PetsPyjamas on Facebook and Twitter, and @ThePetsPyjamas on Instagram #PetsPyjamas.

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Paws for Thought: Caring for Your Pet When You’re Busy

Sometimes life gets busy. You’re consumed by work or perhaps a personal crisis, and you don’t have as much time as you used to. When you have a pet, it can affect your ability to spend time with them and care for them properly. Perhaps you might feel guilty that you can’t be there for your pet as much as you would like to. They require your love and attention, and it’s not very fair if you can’t give it to them.

But being busy doesn’t have to stop your pet from receiving the attention he or she deserves. If you’re having a busy period, there are several things you can do to ensure your pet is cared for.

Keep Your Pet Entertained When They’re Home Alone

Even if you’re not particularly busy, you probably need to leave your pet at home on their own sometimes. When you go to work, you might choose to leave them home alone, trusting that they will be safe in the house. However, you need to ensure that they’re entertained and that they have everything they need. You need to leave food and water and make sure that they have somewhere warm or cool to go. If you have a dog or cat, it’s especially important that they don’t get bored, or else you might come home to destroyed furniture. Leaving them with toys and things to do will keep them occupied until you get home.

Get Someone Else to Carry Out Essential Care

Sometimes you need a bit of help caring for your pet. If you’re very busy with work or other commitments, you might struggle to dedicate enough time to your pet. One way to ensure they get the attention they deserve is by getting someone else to help out. It could be someone who volunteers to do it for free, or perhaps someone you pay. For example, at www.friendsforpets.co.uk you can find dog walking services, pet sitting, small animal boarding, and house sitting. You can have someone come and collect your dog for a walk during the day, or perhaps send them to doggy daycare. Just having someone pop into your home for ten minutes each day can make a big difference.

Keeping Your Pet Happy When You Work from Home

Some people work from home, but still struggle to give their pets the attention they need. Much like children, your pet can demand your attention when you’re trying to work. One of the things you can do is make sure you schedule times in your day when you can step away from your work and give your pet your full attention. But even if you give yourself a schedule, your pet won’t necessarily want to follow it. So ensuring that they can occupy themselves while you work can also be helpful. Give your pet toys to play with that they can enjoy on their own, without you having to throw or wiggle anything.

Schedule Your Time Together

When you’re extremely busy, organising your time is one way to meet all your obligations. If you make sure to plan time for your pet, you will be more likely to give them the care they need. So, if your dog needs a walk, you can plan to do it in the morning before you go to work, or in the evening when you get home. Even if you only have a spare half an hour, you can squeeze in some time with your pet instead of looking for something else to do or spending it doing nothing.

Rearrange Your Schedule

It might be that you need to give your schedule a serious rethink. Instead of just fitting your pet around your existing commitments, perhaps it’s time to rearrange your priorities. Sometimes when you’re particularly busy at work, there’s not much you can do about it. But on other occasions, you have a choose as to how much time you spend at work. Perhaps you can bring some work home or do less work altogether. You can rethink other commitments too. If you spend a lot of time doing a certain hobby, maybe it’s time to spend more time at home instead.

Partner Up with Other Pet Owners

If you have a dog, they might have some other dogs they enjoy spending time with. Having some company can stop them from getting bored, so you could consider having one of your dog’s friends stay with them during the day. Being friends with another dog owner can also be useful because you can share dog care duties. If you help each other out by walking each other’s dogs or popping in to feed them when you can, you can share the load of caring for them. Your dog could get two walks in one day, while you only have to go on one of them, and your friend gets the same.

Use Your Time Wisely

When you do have time to spend with your pet, try to use it in clever ways. If your pet has a lot of energy, tiring them out might mean they sleep for a while so you can do something else. As well as helping them burn off energy, you should also try to occupy your pet’s mind, so they don’t get bored. You could try some training or perhaps put some treats in puzzle toys, or even make your own. Find ways to entertain your pet at www.puppyleaks.com.

Is Your Lifestyle Still Suitable for a Pet?

There are some times in life when you need to consider if you can still care for your pet. Many people see rehoming an animal as a big no-no, but the reality is that sometimes rehoming is better for your pet if you’re unable to make changes in your life. You might be dealing with an illness, about to face homelessness, or unable to reduce your heavy working hours. Sometimes, you need to consider if you’re doing what’s best for your pet.

It’s not always easy to care for your pet when you’re busy, but if you love them, you can usually make time.

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I’m on a Low Income – Should I Get a Pet?

Veterinary treatment can be expensive

A pet really is the perfect companion, and when you adopt an animal, you have a furry best friend for the rest of their lives. But there’s a lot to take into consideration before becoming a pet owner. It’s so important that you’re able to take care of their needs and understand exactly how much responsibility an animal is.

One question that raises a lot of debate is whether you should get a pet if you’re on a low income. It’s tricky because there isn’t a black or white ‘yes or no’ answer to this. Although pets can be expensive, it’s certainly possible to provide an animal with a happy and fulfilling life without a whole lot of cash in the bank. However, there are some questions you will need to ask yourself first.

Work Out Your Current Situation

If you’re on a low income because you’re between jobs or have been made redundant, how will your situation change later down the line? You might have more money when you get back into work, but will you have the time and energy to care for your pet? If you live alone and are likely to work long hours, this is more of an issue to consider. If you’re on a low income because you’re retired or sick, what will happen to your pet if you have to go into hospital? It’s not just the low-income side of things you need to think about, but what your situation is now and how things could change.

 

Are You Entitled To Free Vet Care?

People on a low income and in receipt of certain benefits are entitled to free pet care at the PDSA. This can give you peace of mind that if anything were to happen, your animal would get the treatment it needs. If you’re on a low income but don’t receive any benefits, there are vets who provide lower cost care, so this is an option. However there will still be a bill to foot, so you’d need to work out if this is something you could cover if your pet got sick.

 

Can You Afford Food and Other Essentials

Buying food in bulk works out a lot cheaper, and means that many animals aren’t really that expensive to feed. You can purchase seventeen kilogram bags of dog kibble from any supermarket for around £12, which would last a small or medium sized breed many months. You can buy four kilograms of cat biscuits for around £10 which would last the average cat for almost three months. However if your pet is sensitive or intolerant to certain ingredients, a more specialist food will be a lot more expensive. On top of this though you will need to purchase toys, beds, collars, leads, flea and worming medicine and grooming equipment. Sit and work out your budget, and find out if you have enough to cover all of these combined costs.

Whether you’re on a low income or not, pet ownership is a huge responsibility so be sure to work out if it’s something that’s possible for you. Your finances, free time energy levels and whether you have enough space are all important questions to ask.

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Does Size Matter When You Pick A Pet?

If you’re considering bringing a new pet into the family, chances are you’ve had a few conversations about your choices. Allergies, time, and lifespan are just some of the things you may have thought about. Not all pets are furry, and not all pets live at home with you. Some spend months asleep in winter, while others will be very lively and energetic.

Most of us prefer to have a pet that is similar to one we had as children. Of course, if you’re ready for a change, or hoping to fulfill a life ambition, you might choose to take on something completely different. But the one thing you really should consider is the size of the pet you take on. If you’re buying a juvenile, be prepared for a big grow! And before you say you want something cat-size, consider just how big some breeds, like the Maine Coon, can actually become!

Really Small

Gerbils, mice, spiders, and ants have all found their way into our hearts. They tend to live quite happily in their small enclosure or cage and are ideal for small apartments or even bedrooms. They eat relatively little, and their enclosures require a tidy up and clean every few days. Some might say they are low-maintenance pets, but every living thing needs the right care and attention.

Medium House Pets

Cats and small breeds of dog have become the most popular household pets. The fact they’re cuddly and furry really helps too! However, they can also be quite expensive pets to look after. Aside from any special dietary requirements, this kind of pet requires regular veterinary care and vaccinations. Dogs and cats can also cause allergies for people living in the house. If this should happen, consider how you will manage the situation or if you can give up your pet.

Large Pets

Large dog breeds, pet pigs, and domestic farmyard animals are becoming more popular as pets. They require extra or special accommodation as well as extra attention to security in their running space. Pets this size can also be quite dangerous around small children. There is a wider range of illnesses and diseases that you will need to protect your animal from too.

Biggest Pets

The largest pets you might own could be ponies and horses. These animals often live at a local stable if you don’t have a family equestrian property. They need an all-weather turnout rug to ensure they are warm and dry when roaming the paddock. Horses also need a lot of opportunities to run around. If you don’t have enough time to ride, why not let the stable manage riding for you? There is often a fee. Veterinary bills are extremely high for our largest pets. Food bills aren’t cheap either. Of course, the reward for having any loving pet is much more valuable.
If you’re hoping to acquire a new pet, don’t be put off by size. Do carefully consider the affordability of the pet you choose and make sure their home is roomy enough to grow into. Love your pet.

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RSPCA Reports Rise in Animal Cruelty

The RSPCA investigated more than 400 allegations of animal cruelty per day last year – an increase of almost 5% compared to the previous 12 months.

In figures released today, the RSPCA says it received 1.15million calls last year, averaging one every 27 seconds.

The RSPCA’s leading inspector believes the surge in calls to Britain’s biggest animal welfare charity is down to the public seeing more animal cruelty through images and films being shared on social media.

A total of 149,604 complaints of animal abuse were investigated by the RSPCA last year.

These include the case of Reo – a nine-year-old German Shepherd who was whimpering in agony from the open wounds on her ears, jaw and eye when she was found. Her owner was banned from keeping animals for life after being prosecuted by the RSPCA, and Reo is now thriving in her new home.

Other shocking cases of cruelty investigated by RSPCA officers included:

  • A bulldog repeatedly thrown down a flight of stairs, stamped upon and headbutted
  • A royal python and boa constrictor which were both decapitated with a pair of scissors
  • A shih-tzu repeatedly stabbed in the face and neck with a kitchen knife before being left to die in broad daylight
  • Badgers dug out of a sett and a waiting pack of dogs encouraged to attack them whilst the ordeal was filmed on a mobile phone.
  • A golden eagle kept in a cramped kitchen, surrounded by broken glass and empty tin cans

Dermot Murphy, Assistant Director of the RSPCA Inspectorate, said: “It never fails to shock me when I look back on the extreme instances of animal cruelty the RSPCA has been called upon to investigate.

“It continues to outrage and sadden me that people can be capable of such deliberate brutality towards animals, but equally it drives me on to ensure that perpetrators of animal cruelty are put before the courts.

“I believe that the figures from last year show that we’re not becoming crueler, but that people are simply less willing to stand by and do nothing if they think an animal is suffering.

Dermot added: “People are increasingly likely to share images or footage on their social media accounts of animals they believe are not being cared for properly, while many will see material their friends have shared and then contact us about them.

“Either way, our officers are under increased pressure having to respond to more calls and investigate more complaints, but it is thanks to their dedication, as well as RSPCA staff and volunteers across England and Wales that we are able to transform the lives of tens of thousands of animals each year.”

The statistics:

In 2016, the RSPCA:

  • Received 1,153,744 calls to its 24 hour cruelty line (up by 3.15%)
  • Investigated 149,604 complaints of alleged animal cruelty (up by 4.62%)
  • Issued 84,725 advice and improvement notices (up by 3.99%)
  • Successfully prosecuted 744 people (down by 6.53%)
  • Secured 628 disqualification orders following prosecution (down 4.46%)
  • Had a prosecution success rate of 92.5% (up by 0.1%)

The majority of complaints received by the RSPCA in 2016 continued to be about the welfare of dogs (84,994), followed by cats (36,156) and equines (19,530).

The highest number of complaints investigated were in Greater London (11,812), West Yorkshire (7,920) and Greater Manchester (7,708). The most people convicted of animal cruelty offences were from West Yorkshire (94), followed by North Yorkshire (50) and the West Midlands (49).

There was also a rise in the number of owners who were offered and accepted welfare improvement advice and notices – up to 84,725, compared with 81,475 in 2015.  This is over 95% of all notices given out showing the importance of prevention in the RSPCA’s work.

The latest RSPCA statistics featured in the charity’s Prosecutions Annual Report 2016 and are released almost 10 years after the Animal Welfare Act was introduced into England and Wales, making it possible for the RSPCA to intervene earlier and prevent an animal suffering.

Since the Animal Welfare Act came into force in 2007 the RSPCA has secured convictions for breaches of the legislation relation to more than 25,000 animals, including 15,787 dogs, 3,650 cats and 2,525 equines.

Since 2007 there have been 8,706 disqualification orders on keeping some or all animals issued by the courts following RSPCA prosecutions.

“People might see these figures as a negative, and I certainly take no satisfaction from knowing that any animal has suffered. What I do take pride in is knowing that because of the RSPCA’s intervention we have prevented many more animals from suffering at the hands of those who we have successfully investigated and brought before the courts,” added Dermot Murphy.

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